Is an LPN-to-RN Worth it – (Pros VS. Cons)

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you an LPN who loves nursing but wants to do more? Have you wondered what it would be like to take on more responsibility and have a broader scope of practice? Maybe you've considered becoming a registered nurse but can't help, but wonder is an LPN-to-RN worth it. If this sounds like you, you've found the right article. As you continue reading, I will share my perspective on going from an LPN to an RN and discuss 25 reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it and also 7 reasons why it may not be the right degree for you.



An LPN-to-RN degree is a program designed to help licensed practical nurses transition to the role of professional registered nurses. This degree builds upon your nursing education and LPN experience and prepares you to transition to the next level of nursing as a registered nurse.


An LPN-to-RN degree can take one to four years to complete, depending on whether you pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. For example, the University of Louisiana at Monroe offers an LPN-to-BSN (Bachelor’s degree) program that can be completed in three to four years (eight semesters. Galen College of Nursing has an LPN-to-ADN (Associate degree) Bridge program designed to be completed in 15 to 18 months.


The cost of an LPN-to-RN degree varies from school to school and depends on the type of program you choose, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree. The costs range from $5,000 to more than $50,000.

For instance, Bethesda School of Nursing at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College offers an LPN-to-RN program that costs in-state students $14,686 and out-of-state students $23,522. Indiana State University offers an LPN-to-RN program that requires 68 to 72 credits. The university charges tuition on a per-credit basis of $342 for state residents and $445 for out-of-state students. Therefore, the program costs between $23,256 and $32,040, depending on your number of credits and residency status.


While admission requirements for an LPN-to-RN degree may vary slightly depending on the program, the general criteria are the same. The following is a list of minimum admission requirements for most LPN-t0-RN programs.

• Have a current, unencumbered license to practice as an LPN
• High school diploma or GED
• At least six months of experience working as an LPN
• You must provide official transcripts from your LPN program and usually have to meet a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 in your LPN degree program.
• Some schools require applicants to take an entrance exam, like the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam.


(The following are the 25 reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it in 2023.)

REASON #1: A LPN-to-RN degree results in a higher salary

One of the top reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it is because Registered Nurses earn more money than Licensed Practical Nurses. The average salary for RNs is $82,750. LPNs, on the other hand, earn approximately $51,850 yearly. That's a difference of $30,900 annually!

REASON #2: LPN-to-RN degree allows you to be a travel nurse

Travel nurses sometimes go across the United States and even abroad to take shifts covering nurse shortages, crisis situations, or high-demand circumstances. These positions may pay well, depending on the demand for a nurse at that time. If you like to travel and explore new cities, people, and environments, an LPN-to-RN degree may be right for you.

REASON #3: You want a greater scope of practice

As you gain a higher level of education through an LPN-to-RN program, you can become a good candidate for jobs that require more independent thinking and autonomy in practice. For example, registered nurses perform initial assessments on patients in inpatient settings, actively participate in developing nursing care plans, and educate patients and families about illnesses, medications, treatments, and treatment plans. Although LPNs can perform some of these duties, RNs enjoy more autonomy and can oversee LPNs performing patient care.

REASON #4: You desire more leadership in your job duties

If you aspire to become a nursing leader, you may find an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it. Although registered nurses perform bedside care, they will also have opportunities to take on leadership roles, perhaps as charge nurse, team leader, or nursing director. As an RN, you will carry out more complex nursing duties, including delegating tasks, supervising CNAs and LPNs, and collaborating with leaders within the interdisciplinary team.

REASON #5: LPN-to-RN degree prepares you to offer more specialized services.

The more education you obtain and the higher your degree, the more opportunities you will have to specialize in an area of interest. You may become a certified pediatric registered nurse or work in oncology or emergency services. The sky is the limit when it comes to nursing education and opportunities for advancement.

REASON #6: Increased Job Security

Because of their broader scope of practice, knowledge, and skills, registered nurses are a vital part of every healthcare team. Although LPNs can perform many duties that RNs perform, registered nurses' practice has a wider reach, and employers like to capitalize on that. Your new RN knowledge and skills position you for opportunities to establish long-term job security. The sense of security in your career is one of the top reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it.

REASON #7: You want a more in-depth understanding of the healthcare field

An LPN-to-RN degree builds upon the knowledge and skills you acquired in your LPN program, giving you a broader perspective of healthcare procedures and policies, treatment options, and the effect of care on patient outcomes and the nursing profession.

REASON #8: Greater job and career opportunities

As a registered nurse, you will find more diversity in the types of jobs and the availability of coveted positions. You may continue working in a clinical role providing patient care, supervising nursing teams, or acting as a case manager. Conversely, you could look to more administrative roles and climb the corporate ladder in nursing. Either way, the increased job opportunities are one of the top reasons an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it.

REASON #9: You Can Positively Impact Patient Care

As a nurse, your patient is your number one priority. LPNs can impact patients' lives and are essential to the nursing team. However, because of the broader scope of practice you'll experience as a registered nurse, you’ll likely have a more significant impact on patients, their families, and the healthcare team. Your effort to affect positive change, promote good patient outcomes, and support your nursing team has a further reach once you earn your RN degree.

REASON #10: You Love Communicating with Others and Being a Point of Contact

Registered nurses often are a point of contact and frequently communicate with patients and their families by effectively relaying information about their health status and treatment. This is one aspect of the greater responsibility that an LPN-to-RN degree holder has. Having this higher level of responsibility will make you an essential voice and advocate for patients, families, and your team.

REASON #11: Increased Skillset Makes You a Valuable Team Member

One of the biggest reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it is because LPN-to-RN degree holders have a valuable skillset and education in the healthcare field. When you implement the knowledge and skills you obtain in an LPN-to-RN program, you not only help improve patient outcomes, but you also add value to the effectiveness of your team. This is an essential quality prospective employers seek.

REASON #12: There is a Strong Demand for Registered Nurses

There is currently a shortage of registered nurses in the United States and worldwide. One reason an LPN-to-RN is worth it is that you position yourself to fill positions created by the nursing shortage. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that registered nurse employment will grow by six percent from 2021 to 2031. This projection indicates an average of more than 203,000 registered nurse jobs will be available yearly for the next decade.

REASON #13: You want to get involved with healthcare management

If you love nursing but imagine yourself in a management or executive role, you will find an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it. While LPNs may work as team leaders in some capacities, such as in physicians' offices or nursing homes, management positions are reserved for higher-level nurses. Earning your RN degree will help you prepare to advance to administration or management positions in nursing.

REASON #14: You love a challenge!

With a more advanced degree, like the one you earn through LPN-to-RN programs, you will be prepared to take on more challenging roles. You may work in critical care settings, as a patient advocate, or lobby for nurses and the profession. If you like to challenge yourself, grow and learn, an LPN-to-RN is worth it.

REASON #15: You will develop advanced nursing skills.

LPN-to-RN programs take nursing knowledge and skills to a whole new level. You will learn in-depth methods to apply critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication skills. As you develop these skills, you will become more comfortable initiating communication about patient care, interventions, and methods of improving nursing care techniques, making you an especially valuable member of the nursing care team.

REASON#16: You enjoy emergency nursing

If you are interested in being more involved in emergency medicine, an LPN-to-RN is worth it for you. Although some LPNs work in emergency care settings, most hospitals prefer to hire registered nurses for these roles. The broader scope of practice and your understanding of acute and emergent patient needs are key characteristics needed to work in emergency nursing. As a registered nurse, you can pursue the certification as a Certified Registered Emergency Nurse.

REASON #17: You enjoy being busy and doing new things

Some people like the idea of routines that rarely change and don't mind doing the same thing day after day. Others thrive in busy job environments. If you are one of those people who enjoys learning new things, pushing yourself, and being busy, becoming a registered nurse is a great option. Granted, you may be on your feet most of the day, have demanding patients, or be called to help other nurses, but the rewards of accomplishing goals in a busy environment are worth it.

REASON #18: You want to form meaningful connections with your patients

Registered nurses spend a lot of time around patients and their family members/loved ones. By directly providing and being responsible for the care of your patient, it becomes easy to develop meaningful, mutually beneficial connections. While LPNs get to know patients when providing care, registered nurses often have more opportunities to get to know patients and their loved ones on a more personal level and develop close connections.

REASON #19: Pressure? No problem! You thrive under pressure!

As rewarding as nursing can be, there is usually a lot of pressure that comes with the job. Registered nurses are responsible for caring for patients and working with families, the nursing team, and physicians to develop and implement care plans, monitor patients' progress, and take care of other endless tasks. You may work long hours or have emergencies that arise out of nowhere. If you are the type of person who works well under pressure and likes to get the job done, earning an RN degree could be worth it. Believe it or not, many nurses who transition from LPN to RN status say the ability to work in high-pressure roles and feeling a sense of accomplishment is one of the biggest reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it.

REASON #20: You Are Happy When Others Trust You

Nurses have a great responsibility to patients, peers, employers, and the profession. We are trusted to care for those who cannot care for themselves, to be a confidant and advocate for patients and loved ones and perform our jobs in an ethical manner. When you become an RN you will find there are situations when you are the sounding board for others. The trust that patients and team members put in you as a registered nurse can feel very rewarding and will leave you feeling that an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it.

REASON #21: You Are Interested in Education Roles in Nursing

Do you love mentoring other nurses and sharing your knowledge and skills? You may aspire to teach the next generation of up-and-coming nurses. If so, you can make that dream come true as a registered nurse. When you find the perfect job educating others, such as nursing students, hospital staff, and patients' loved ones, you will feel an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it.

REASON #22: Lay the Foundation for Graduate Studies

An LPN-to-RN degree is worth it because it not only helps you advance your career to the next level but it is also the perfect way to lay the foundation to later pursue graduate studies. Once you become an RN with an associate or bachelor's degree, you may later pursue an advanced degree with a Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice. Doing so creates opportunities for you to broaden your scope of practice even further as a Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Doctor of Nursing Philosophy.

REASON #23: You Will Earn the Respect of Your Nursing and Healthcare Peers

When you decide to up your game and become a registered nurse, you'll gain the attention of your peers. Healthcare professionals know that transitioning from one degree to another takes time and genuine dedication. Although it is unlikely that you're pursuing your RN degree to impress others, it goes without saying that the respect you receive for doing so can leave you feeling accomplished and appreciated.

REASON #24: You’ll Have More Flexible Work Schedules

One of the biggest reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it is because you have access to more jobs with more flexible schedules. This benefit is especially helpful to nurses with children or other family responsibilities.

REASON #25: You Will Experience Personal Growth

Another one of the top reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it is because you will be challenged to grow not only professionally but personally. Most nurses find that the more education and responsibility they have in the workplace, the more challenged they are to grow and become a better person. This level of personal growth can positively impact you and everyone you encounter.


(Now that we have discussed the 25 reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it, I want to share a few reasons why you could feel an LPN-to-RN is not worth it.)

REASON #1: An LPN-to-RN Degree Leads to More Challenges at Work

Being a nurse at any level is challenging, and the more education or higher your degree, the more responsibility you have, which means more significant challenges. Registered nurses work long shifts, experience high-stress levels, and may be more vulnerable to burnout symptoms. This more demanding work schedule and increased challenges are a few reasons why you may feel an LPN-to-RN is not worth it.

REASON #2: You May Not Have the Money to Invest in an LPN-to-RN Program

LPN-to-RN degree programs cost money, and although the cost varies, you may not be at a place where you feel like you can commit to the financial investment. If you are considering pursuing your RN degree but feel unsure about the finances, don't write it off and say an LPN-to-RN program is not worth it just yet. You can save your money, apply for scholarships and even apply for federal financial aid.

REASON #3: Working as a Registered Nurse Can Be Emotionally Draining

Any nursing job can make you feel emotionally stressed. Registered nurses are often more involved with the ins and outs of major decisions associated with patient care, family support, and being part of an interdisciplinary team of several people (and their opinions). At times, the situations patients face may leave you feeling helpless or at a loss. When team members have difficulty agreeing on appropriate care measures, the stress can also leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you cannot handle stress or emotionally charged encounters, you may feel pursuing an LPN-to-RN degree is not worth it.

REASON #4: An LPN-to-RN Degree Requires a Significant Time Commitment

The amount of time that you need to invest into an LPN-to-RN degree may be one reason why an LPN-to-RN degree is not worth it. While some programs can be completed in as little as a year, you still have to commit a great deal of time to studies and clinical assignments. If you prefer to spend your days hanging out with friends, relaxing at home, or shopping, the time commitment these programs require could come as a shock. Weigh your options carefully and choose the best program and path for you.

REASON#5: You may not want to return to classroom learning

An LPN-to-RN degree requires that you return to school and integrate yourself into an educational curriculum with lectures and exams. If you’ve been working or out of school for a while, this may be a change of pace for you and maybe something that you are not looking forwards to.

REASON #6: You Are Happy With Your Current Role

There is nothing written that says you have to get your RN degree. If you are happy with your current job, you may feel like an LPN-to-RN degree is not worth it. Consider your personal goals and decide for yourself whether going back to school is the right decision at this time.

REASON #7: You Feel School is Too Stressful

Going back to school to earn a new or higher degree takes a lot of time and can be quite stressful. You may be at a place in your personal and professional life where you feel like school could complicate things or be too stressful. If that's how you feel, you may conclude an LPN-to-RN is not worth it. Just because you decide not to go back to school right now, that doesn't mean your fate is sealed and you must remain an LPN forever. Do what is right for you when it's right for you.


If you're considering returning to school to earn your RN degree, you likely want to understand why there is such a hard push to get nurses at the RN level. The following are 3 main reasons that drive the demand for LPN-to-RN degree holders.

1. Nationwide Shortage of Nurses:

One simple reason behind the demand for LPN-to-RN degree holders is a nationwide shortage of nurses, especially those capable of filling professional roles. As registered nurses have significantly more education than an LPN, registered nurses are in demand for a variety of jobs that LPNs are usually not qualified to do.

2. Increasing Number of America’s Population is Aging:

1 in 5 Americans will be of retirement age by 2030, meaning that there will be a high demand for the services that a registered nurse can provide. While LPNs are also in demand, LPN-to-RN degree holders have that extra skillset that makes them even more valuable as team members in the healthcare workforce.

3. Far-Reaching Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Every part of the world has been impacted by COVID-19, and nurses are no exception. Frontline workers like nurses worked in situations that they had never experienced before, losing patients, loved ones, and coworkers along the way. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many nurses with fatigue and burnout, and many have left the profession altogether, creating a demand for qualified registered nurses to fill those voids.


The starting salary for new LPN-to-RN degree holders without experience is $59,450 annually. This pay equals $4,950 monthly, $1,143 weekly, or $28.58 hourly.

(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)


The average salary for LPN-to-RN degree holders is $82,750 per year. This breaks down to $6,900 monthly, $1,591 weekly, and $39.78 hourly.

(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)


As you ponder the reasons why an LPN-to-RN degree may or may not be worth it, one of the main factors to consider is whether you'll have a good return on your investment. Everyone's opinion varies and is determined by personal circumstances, including salary and the type of bills you have. However, with an average annual salary of nearly $83,000 and programs costing about $50,000 on the high end, it's safe to say that the cost of an LPN-to-RN degree is worth the Return on Investment you will experience.


Completion of your LPN-to-RN degree opens doors to several different career pathways. Here are the best three jobs LPN-to-RN degree holders can get.

1. School Nurse:

A school nurse is responsible for working with children of various ages and providing care, such as dispensing medication and performing screening exams. This is a unique job you can get with an LPN-to-RN degree, which is great for those who do not wish to practice in a traditional hospital or clinical setting. In most schools, you get to enjoy having nights, weekends, holidays, and summers off work.

2. Nurse Educator:

Nurse educators work in colleges and universities, training those who will be the next generation of healthcare workers. As a nurse educator, you may also find a job working for a healthcare organization providing education to employees, patients, and staff. Your role as a nurse educator can leave you feeling quite satisfied as you can impact the delivery of care and influence generations of nurses to come.

3. ICU Nurse:

As an ICU nurse, you will care for patients in critical, often life-threatening conditions. Although the job can be stressful, it is as equally rewarding when you see patients recover and go on to live healthy lives. As a bonus, ICU nurses make an average of $92,000, which is higher than the average salary of an LPN-to-RN degree holder.


No matter what level of education you have, as a nurse, there are always ways to leverage your degree and make more money. Whether you use your degree to secure a new position or to take on a part-time gig, the things you can do to increase your cash flow are a few reasons why an LPN-to-RN degree is worth it. The following are a few tips to make more money with an LPN-to-RN degree.

1. Become a travel nurse:

Do you want to see other parts of the country or the world? Has the cost of travel kept you from hitting the road and checking out some new places? As a travel nurse, you can see places that interest you while earning some extra income. Many LPN to RN graduates choose to work exclusively as travel nurses. The pay is great, and you can choose what assignments and areas you want to work.

2. Take on night shift and work holidays:

No matter where you work, there is always someone who wants an extra day off, calls in sick, or goes on vacation. Just because they don't show up does not mean the work stops. Someone needs to fill that spot, and it could be you. When you take on extra shifts, work at night or come in on the holidays, you could pad your checking account a good bit. Employers know the importance of having safe nurse-to-patient ratios, and when they are in a pinch to get help, they are usually willing to pay more.

3. Practice in rural areas:

Rural areas are often underserved when it comes to healthcare services. You can take on some jobs in those areas and benefit both the clientele and yourself. Some employers in these areas offer higher base pay as well as incentives for nurses who agree to full-time or long-term contracts.


As you consider where to go next in your career, it's natural to ask, "Is an LPN-to-RN worth your time and money?” Throughout this article, we’ve discussed 25 reasons why an LPN-to-RN is worth it and also 7 reasons why it may not be the right degree for you. My final thought on the matter is that earning your LPN-to-RN degree can be beneficial. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which path is best for you. Consider your options and make a decision based on what you want for yourself. Think of your personal and professional goals, and whatever you decide, go for it!


1. What Is The Best Age To Do An LPN-to-RN Degree?

The best age to complete an LPN-to-RN degree is subjective. If you have earned your LPN license and have some experience and feel it’s time to move forward in your career, the timing is probably right. If you feel unsure, you may need to give yourself a while to gain some more experience and weigh your options before jumping in.

2. How Hard Is It To Get Into An LPN-to-RN Degree Program?

Admission to LPN-to-RN degree programs can be competitive. Some programs admit an average of 60% of applicants. You can increase your chances of acceptance by taking prerequisite courses and maintaining a good GPA, getting some work experience, and applying early.

3. Do I Need Work Experience To Get Into An LPN-to-RN Degree Program?

Yes, most LPN-to-RN programs require candidates to have at least one year of work experience before starting the program.

4. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into An LPN-to-RN Degree Program?

The general minimum GPA for LPN-to-RN degree programs is 2.75 on a 4.0 grading scale. However, if you want to increase your chances of acceptance, I recommend working to get your GPA higher and take the ACT or SAT.

5. Are Online LPN-to-RN Degree Programs Worth It?

An accredited online LPN-to-RN program must meet the same standards as on-campus programs. Therefore, you will have the same benefits of graduates of programs held in person. When you consider increased job opportunities, higher levels of autonomy, increased earning potential, and long-term job security, I believe an online LPN-to-RN is worth it.

6. Are Scholarships And Grants Available For LPN-to-RN Degree Programs?

Yes, some scholarships and grants are available for LPN-to-RN degree programs.

7. Is It Hard To Complete An LPN-to-RN Degree?

Any nursing program can be difficult. Some classes are easier than others and clinical rotations and sites vary. However, if you have a strong work ethic and remain dedicated to your studies, you can be successful in an LPN-to-RN program.

8. Can LPN-to-RN Students Have A Life?

Absolutely! LPN-to-RN students can definitely have a life. You may have to rearrange your schedule and determine what events or obligations are most important to accommodate school, but it is certainly possible to complete the program and "have a life."

9. Can I Work Part-Time And Successfully Complete The LPN-to-RN Degree Program?

Yes, it is possible to work part-time and successfully complete an LPN-to-RN program. Discuss scheduling options with your academic advisor and employer to make sure you can accomplish both and be diligent with both your work and school responsibilities.

10. Can I Work Full-Time And Successfully Complete The LPN-to-RN Degree Program?

It is possible to work full-time and successfully complete an LPN-to-RN degree. Planning and flexibility with your work and school schedule will be necessary for you to be able to carry out full-time work and school, but it is possible to succeed at both.

11. Do Students Fail In LPN-to-RN Degree Programs?

Like all graded educational programs, it is possible to fail an LPN-to-RN degree program. With hard work, the right study skills, and a supportive program, you can be successful.

12. Will I Ever Regret Getting An LPN-to-RN Degree?

While this question is subjective, usually LPN-to-RN degree holders do not regret their decision. U.S. News ranks registered nurse as the #5 best healthcare job and #12 out of 100 of the best jobs, suggesting that those who complete an LPN-to-RN program usually do not regret their decision.

13. How Much Does An LPN-to-RN Graduate Make Per Hour?

The average hourly pay for LPN-to-RN graduates is $39.78.


14. How Much Does An LPN-to-RN Graduate Make Per Year?

LPN-to-RN graduates earn an average annual salary of $82,750.


15. Will LPN-to-RN Graduates Be Paid Less In The Future?

With an increased need for healthcare services and a nationwide shortage of nurses, it is unlikely that LPN-to-RN graduates will be paid less in the future.

16. Are All LPN-to-RN Graduates Successful In Their Careers?

Not all LPN-to-RN graduates will find success in their careers, but many can find jobs and careers that they enjoy and find fulfilling. The great thing about nursing is, if you are unhappy in one role, you can transition to another in the nursing profession, finding a place to feel confident and successful.

17. Are LPN-to-RN Graduates Happy With Their Jobs?

Most surveys and studies indicate LPN-to-RN graduates are happy with their jobs.

18. Can LPN-to-RN Degree Holders Become Rich?

LPN-to-RN degree holders will make varying amounts of money depending on the jobs that they pursue. It is possible to make close to six figures as an LPN-to-RN degree holder. However, income alone is not what makes a person rich. If long-term financial success and "being rich" is something you desire, it is wise to talk with a financial planner.

19. What Are Some Of The Best LPN-to-RN Degree Alternatives?

There are limitless opportunities for nurses. If you're looking for some alternatives to LPN-to-RN degree programs, you may find a job as an occupational therapy assistant, medical office administrator, or human resources manager appealing.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).